What is the role of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in the pathophysiology of rosacea?

Updated: Jun 03, 2021
  • Author: Agnieszka Kupiec Banasikowska, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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AMPs are small molecular weight proteins that are a part of the innate immune response and have demonstrated broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They are rapidly released upon injury and/or infection of the skin, and they have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory skin diseases. Cathelicidins and β-defensins are 2 well-known types of AMPs, of which the former has been shown to be expressed in abnormally high levels in patients with rosacea.

Specifically, the LL-37 peptide form of cathelicidin, in addition to proteolytically processed forms of LL-37, have been found in significantly different amounts in rosacea patients compared with healthy individuals. LL-37 is expressed by polymorphonuclear leukocytes and lymphocytes. LL-37 interacts with endothelial cells and stimulates angiogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. It also modulates the expression of VEGF. [10] Injection of LL-37 and these novel peptides derived from LL-37 into mice induced inflammation, erythema, and telangiectasia; therefore, researchers hypothesized that an excess of cathelicidins coupled with abnormal processing caused disease. [15]

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